Don’t get me wrong Covid-19 has wrecked international economies, killed thousands and more locally has caused homelessness and hunger for thousands of Thais directly impacted by the tourist slump. It is tragic. Families have been kept apart through international border closures and millions and millions of us were forced indoors and away from our friends and family as the world tried to find the solution to coping with this pandemic.

But this global resetting of status quo could actually bump Thailand up the pecking order on the world tourist stage when this new normal continues to develop. I also wanted to consider if any positives could emerge from such tragedy as there is a part of me starting to think the new normal could end up being a good thing for Thailand in the long run.

Some disciplines enforced upon us make sense to keep

Small things started to hit home when my kids returned back to school. Initially it was an horrendous shock and, I have to admit it, a bit upsetting seeing my two kids in masks and having to get their temperature checks before they were allowed to enter the school. But there are some disciplines here that I would like to see continued once and if the world gets on top of this virus. My kids are no longer getting ill. Previously every other week they were coming back with a cough and a sneeze, for too many parents still sent their kids to school if they were ill.

Daily temperature checks at schools

When my kids got ill, I then got ill and then I ended up infecting my team in the office. The same could be said for some of my staff with children, they too kept getting ill and bringing illnesses into the office. I have never had so many colds since my kids started to going to school here in Thailand.
So my question is shouldn’t schools always temperature check children upon arrival each morning and apply hand sanitization? It makes a lot of sense.

Thailand deserve the global acclaims and benefits of handling this pandemic so well

I think a massive congratulations is due to Thailand upon the behalf of all us expats living here. The people and the authorities responded amazingly and have kept the virus at bay. My family and I have so far been kept safely away from this virus and for that I tip my hat to everyone in this country.

Thailand ranks first among the countries with the highest COVID-19 recovery index, according to a report issued by the Global COVID-19 Index (GCI). It is officially a world beater in its handling of Covid-19.

Culturally the people were first in class from day one. Thais were already well accustomed to wearing masks when ill themselves, done so to protect others from catching their virus. I never see such courtesy in countries like the UK. Whenever pollution levels rose, Thais would also wear masks. Lets not forget that going into this Bangkok was just recovering from some pretty significant pollution issues. Thais were already wearing masks going into this lockdown.

Greeting each other with a Wai rather than a handshake could well have played a role in keeping any infection levels down. Having lived in Thailand for 15 years I prefer to Wai than shake hands now as it is just cleaner.

It is also one of only two countries in Asia to build its tourist recovery based on safety and hygiene excellence for visitors and has been setting sanitization standards hoteliers and other tourist centric businesses must adhere too. How reassuring will this likely prove to be for wary tourists once they decide to venture out of their countries again for the first time?

Not only that but International tourists knowing Thailand is one of the safest places in the world regarding this global pandemic has to count massively in the countries favour?

If Thailand can continue to keep itself Covid free once the International borders reopen I think tourism should bounce back faster than other countries. We could even see a different type of tourist arrive into Thailand attracted by the countries safety standards, which could prove very advantageous to Thailand’s tourism revenues.

I also see many great sanitization services helping customer fronted businesses keep their premises frequently sanitized. Take Mister Shield in Bangkok, not only do they use an eco-friendly disinfectant to rid premises of germs and virus but they offer the stores stickers and other such point of sale to reassure their customers of their cleanliness. It is such initiatives like this that set Thailand apart. From day one, Thailand and its people took this virus seriously – and continue to do so.

Restaurant being sanitized in Bangkok (photo courtesy Mister Shield)

I know before this pandemic I was fine walking around the place care free in regards to germs and virus, and yes I know it can help build the immune system, but I can’t help feel that some of the new cleanliness behaviours we have been taught is a good thing. I am certainly much more aware of the germs we pick up on our hands on a daily basis.

Thailand’s environment must have also benefited from this enforced lockdown, take the usually busy islands now having time to recover. Economies destroyed, but environments given a chance to repair so we can take this positive at very least.

In conclusion, no one can ever say this virus has been anything other than tragic for the world. Our lives were forced to change and our freedom seriously restrained. But what can we do, it has happened and we must move forward. So, for me, the glimmer of positivity to come from this is in Thailand’s handling of the virus. Being named the best country in the world regarding its Covid-19 recovery index will send a strong message to the world when global travel starts up again.

 

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